The greatest way to utilize wisteria’s breathtaking beauty and incredible vitality is to grow it as a little tree, or standard. Long racemes of sweet-smelling May flowers hang down from soft, pruned leaf heads and sway slightly with each breeze. The compact head of a Tree Wisteria looks amazing in a mixed bed of perennials, bulbs, and annuals. The impression is beautiful and dignified.
Please be aware that wisterias typically take a while to emerge from dormancy after planting. Please be aware that your plant won’t start to leaf out until early summer. It will thereafter leaf out at the usual time in succeeding years (midspring).
Choosing a Location: Wisterias grow and flower most effectively in areas with plenty of sunlight, preferably at least 6 hours every day. They do well in any kind of soil as long as it drains well.
In order to plant your bareroot Wisteria, take off the packing and give the roots a few hours in a bucket of water. Then, dig a hole that is both large enough to permit the roots’ spread and deep enough to allow you to set the crown, or the location where the stem and roots converge, 1 inch below the soil’s surface. Insert the roots into the planting hole and arrange them naturally or like the spokes of a wheel. The roots of many woody plants are brittle, so use additional care when positioning them in the planting hole to prevent breaking them. With one hand holding the crown 1 inch below the soil’s surface, use the other to push soil into the hole while circling the roots to prevent air pockets from forming. Then, using both hands, compact the soil close to the crown. To create a basin, create a rim of earth around the perimeter of the planting hole. This basin is used to collect, hold, and direct water to the roots. Finally, thoroughly immerse the plant.
Please be aware that once bareroot plants are taken out of their packing, they dry up rapidly, especially on a sunny, windy day. Until you are ready to plant, we strongly advise that you keep the roots wrapped in wrapping material.
Staking: To keep their heads aloft in severe gusts, tree wisterias need additional support. After planting, drive the wooden stake that came with your tree 6 to 12 inches deep and 1/2 inch away from the plant’s trunk into the earth. Using the plastic tie tape that came with the tree, affix the trunk to the stake numerous times, spacing them apart by about 8 inches. You’ll need to swap out the original stake for a bigger wooden stake or a sturdy steel pipe as the head and trunk grow bigger. Check the tree every spring and autumn to ensure that the stake is securely in place and that the tie tape used to attach the trunk to the stake is not excessively tight and preventing the trunk from expanding. Plants need to be firmly staked at all times.
Watering and Fertilizing: To hasten wisterias’ establishment in the first year after planting, they require the equivalent of 1 inch of water each week. If the sky doesn’t provide enough moisture, water deeply once a week. Plants that are established only require irrigation during extended dry spells. Wisterias don’t need much, if any, fertilizing because too much fertilizer prevents blossom. Give plants a gentle feeding of 5-10-10 or 5-10-5 at a rate of 3/4 cup per square yard in the early spring each year if your soil is particularly weak or sandy.
Overwintering: For the first few winters after planting, cover the main stem with a piece of plastic tubing in cold-winter conditions like ours here in Litchfield (Zone 5 [-20F]). To encircle the stem, make a straight incision from one end to the other and pry the cut open. (Precut tubing could be available at your nearby garden center.) To stop wind and frost from damaging branches on older specimens, cat’s-cradle bind the branches together using twine to form a web of intertwined strings.
Pruning: Tree Wisterias need to have the long, twining branches they generate in the summer pruned lightly but frequently in order to maintain the globe shape of the head. A couple of weeks prior to the first date of your first frost, they also require one severe pruning in late summer or early fall. Remove all branches that are in the wrong place and reduce the current season’s development to just 5 to 6 huge buds (leaving stubs that are about 6 inches long). This drastic haircut inhibits growth and promotes the transformation of some leaf buds into flower buds. Don’t let pruning errors keep you up at night. Wisterias are highly understanding plants; strong growth the following season will give you another chance.
What cultivates wisteria the best?
Wisterias should be trained as an espalier with horizontal support wires (3mm galvanized steel) spaced 45cm (18″) apart for best results when growing them against a wall. As an alternative, you may train them to climb a strong pergola or perhaps a tree. It is best to attach supports before planting because it will be much more difficult to do so after the wisteria has been planted.
Plant your wisteria in the spring or fall. To increase the soil’s fertility and drainage before to planting, add a lot of well-rotted manure or garden compost to the area. Because you’ll be sharing your home with the plant for a very long time, it’s critical to take the time to establish perfect soil conditions for your wisteria from the very beginning.
Use the depth at which it was planted in the pot as a guide for planting your wisteria outside. If you’re planting a bare-root wisteria, check the base of the stem for a soil mark that shows the depth at which the plant was inserted into the ground at the nursery. This is typically located just below the graft point, which is a bulge in the stem where the rootstock and main plant are joined.
How should a wisteria tree be held?
Wisteria weighs a lot. When it is very old, its main stems may be as thick as a small tree trunk and reach a thickness of several inches. When you plant, keep the future in mind; otherwise, your wisteria will end up with a vine that is too heavy for its support.
Wisteria is typically grown on strong arbors or pergolas, up walls, or both. Start by attaching a number of 6- to 8-inch L-brackets to the support in order to secure it against a home wall. One row of brackets runs vertically up the middle of the wall at 1-foot intervals, and the other rows run horizontally at 2- to 3-foot intervals. To prevent vines from encroaching on the eaves, fasten the top row 3 feet below the eaves.
Galvanized wire should be run between the brackets. After that, attach the baby wisteria vine with string; as it grows, its stems will twine around the wire. (There is plenty of area for air circulation and growth because the wire is placed 6 to 8 inches away from the wall.)
Make sure that the support posts of the construction are at least 4 by 4 inches in size if you want to plant wisteria up an arbor or pergola. Keep the main stem firmly tied with heavy-duty garden twine until it has grown over the top of the building and is attached there. The main stem can be twined around a post or grown straight against it.
Leave the lateral branches on the main stem while the wisteria is growing, especially in the first year or two. After the plant has established healthy growth, you can start gently pinching or trimming off lateral growth at the plant’s base. As the vine climbs the post and moves along the arbor or pergola ceiling, keep trimming some of the lateral growth each year.
When the vine reaches the roof, tie it in place and direct its growth horizontally. It will be held in place as it ages by its own weight and the twining side branches. If you wish to continue lashing it down for more protection, make sure the ties aren’t girdling the branches once a year.
Will Wisteria Climb a House?
Wisteria will unquestionably climb a wall that is part of a house or any other surrounding structure, such as a garage, shed, or even a neighbor’s home. We advise against planting wisteria too close to your home since it can spread rapidly.
You might discover that the invasive vine seems to have a mind of its own if you train it to grow on the exterior of your home. It can harm the facade by growing into any tiny crack or crevice.
If you decide to plant wisteria next to a house, make sure the building can withstand the whole weight of a mature vine. The only exteriors that should be taken into account for this reason are often brick or block homes.
Will Wisteria Climb a Fence?
Whether a fence is made of wood or chain link, wisteria may easily climb it. If you grow wisteria close to a fence, be sure the fence is sturdy enough to hold the weighty vine over time; otherwise, you might need to install additional supports.
If you like the way wisteria looks growing along a fence, you’ll need to train the plant early and prune it frequently to keep it in check. Wisteria may deteriorate fences and even topple a privacy fence.
A trellis or arbor with some sturdy, galvanized wires for the wisteria to climb is an excellent idea for additional support. Any wooden construction needs to be sturdy or reinforced, and it should be fastened into the ground with cement.
Will Wisteria Climb Trees?
The only restriction on wisteria’s ability to climb is the size of its support. Wisteria vines can continue their ascent on nearby trees, and if a tree is within reach, they will hop onto it and begin ascending. The spiraling growth of the wisteria will encircle the branches and trunks of trees.
For the tree or shrub that takes on the wisteria vine, this could be disastrous. As it wraps itself around every accessible branch and limb, this aggressive plant can swiftly choke mature trees, depriving them of light and nourishment.
Be careful when planting Wisteria so that it doesn’t touch anything you don’t want it to grow on. The best course of action is to cut the vine off at the base and let it die if you discover that it has grown up a mature tree. You can teach the vine to grow in a more controlled manner so that you won’t have to worry about it strangling out the tree when it comes back to life.
What sort of assistance does wisteria require?
In the spring, wisteria blooms ferociously, producing clusters of lilac-colored flowers on fresh growth that develops from spurs off the main stalks. Check out our Wisteria Growing Guide for more information on wisteria maintenance, including planting and pruning.
Wisteria is a long-living vining shrub with cascades of blue to purple blossoms that, in the spring and early summer, look stunning hanging from a pergola or archway. However, this vine is known to grow fairly heavy and to grow quickly and aggressively, frequently reaching lengths of more than 30 feet. It’s advised not to put wisteria vines too close to your home since they will squirm their way into any crack or crevice they can find.
Beautifully fragrant wisteria flowers offer a feast for the senses. A brown, bean-like pod remains on the plant during the winter after flowering. There are only blooms on fresh growth.
Note: Be careful when planting wisteria! The wisteria plant contains lectin and wisterin, which are poisonous to people, animals, and even pets. If taken in significant quantities, these poisons can result in anything from nausea and diarrhea to death.
Is Wisteria an Invasive Plant?
The wisteria species Wisteria sinensis and Wisteria floribunda, which are not native to North America, are regarded as invasive in several areas. If you want to add a new wisteria to your garden, we advise choosing one of the native North American varieties, such as American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) or Kentucky wisteria (Wisteria macrostachya), which are excellent alternatives to the Asian species.
Do you want to know how to distinguish between North American and Asian species?
While North American wisteria is not quite as aggressive in its growing tendencies and has smooth seed pods and fruits in addition to more-or-less cylindrical, bean-shaped seeds, Asian wisteria is an aggressive grower with fuzzy seed pods. Another distinction is that the flowers of American and Kentucky wisterias appear in the late spring after the plant has begun to leaf out, whereas those of Chinese wisteria do not.
When to Plant Wisteria
- Plant during the plant’s dormant season in the spring or fall.
- Wisteria can be grown from seed, although plants from seeds frequently take many years to mature and begin to bloom. It is advised to buy wisteria plants that are already established or to begin with a cutting.
Where to Plant Wisteria
- Put a plant in full sun. Even while wisteria will grow in some shade, it won’t likely bloom. Sunlight is necessary.
- Wisteria should be grown in fertile, wet, but well-draining soil.
- Wisteria will grow in most soils unless it is in bad condition, in which case you need add compost. Find out more about soil improvements and getting the soil ready for planting.
- Because wisteria grows swiftly and can easily engulf its neighbors, pick a location apart from other plants.
- Additionally, wisteria is renowned for encroaching on and infiltrating surrounding buildings like homes, garages, sheds, and so on. We highly advise against growing wisteria too near your house!
- Wisteria vines need a very strong support, like a metal or wooden trellis or pergola, to climb on. Plan carefully and use substantial materials to construct your structure because mature plants have been known to become so heavy that they destroy their supports.
Wisteria looks gorgeous growing up the side of a house, but use caution when planting it because it is a very strong vine that will get into any crack or gap!
Caring for Wisteria
- Apply a 2-inch layer of mulch and a layer of compost under the plant each spring to keep moisture in and keep weeds at bay.
- Phosphorus is often used by gardeners to promote flowering. Scratch a couple of cups of bone meal into the soil in the spring and then add some rock phosphate in the fall. Study up on soil amendments.
- If you get less than an inch of rain each week, water your plants. (To determine how much rain you are receiving, set an empty food can outside and use a measuring stick to gauge the depth of the water.)
- During the summer, try pruning the out-of-control shoots every two weeks for more blooms.
- In the late winter, prune wisteria. Remove at least half of the growth from the previous year, leaving only a few buds on each stem.
- Also prune in the summer after customary flowering if you prefer a more formal appearance. On fresh growth, spurs from the main shoots of the wisteria develop its blossoms. Trim back every new shoot from this year to a spur, leaving no more than 6 inches of growth. So that there are no loose, trailing shoots, the entire plant can be trained, tied in, and otherwise organized during this process.
- Mature plants that have been cultivated informally require little to no more pruning. However, for a plant that has been formally trained, side shoots should be pruned back in the summer to 6 inches, then again in the winter to 3 buds.
- Possess you a fresh wisteria? After planting, aggressively prune the vine. Then, the next year, trim the main stem or stems to a height of 3 feet from the growth of the previous year. After the framework has grown to its full size, midsummer extension growth should be cut back to where it started that season.